German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the EU to have more powers over eurozone members’ national budgets. Merkel wants legally enforceable contracts between the European Commission and individual states. These would set out obligations to maintain budgetary discipline and improve competitiveness; in other words, to reduce public spending and lower wages.
Waiting for assurances...
British, French and Spanish intelligence services have been regularly sharing data with the US National Security Agency, which is said to have monitored Angela Merkel’s phone and those of 34 other heads of government. On 23 October MEPs voted to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme with the US because the NSA has been spying on EU citizens’ bank data. The resolution is non-binding. EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said the US had given explanations and assurances and that there were no indications that the agreement has been violated. She is “still waiting for additional written assurances”.
Rules? What rules?
Barclays Bank believes it can avoid EU rules capping bankers’ bonuses by splitting pay into three elements including a new monthly sum based on an employee’s responsibilities.
The Mafia Union
Italian MEP Sonia Alfano, who chairs the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Organised Crime, said in an interview with Euronews, “Sadly, the mafia is already in the control room when it comes to Europe. [They] have advance knowledge of what is happening, where it’s happening and who is taking the decisions. They have relations with people within all EU institutions.”
San Marino still not in
A referendum in San Marino to join the EU failed; only 20 per cent of its people took part, so the minimum threshold of 32 per cent was not met. The tiny state has voluntarily adopted the euro, but does not fit EU rules. This is the third attempt since 2010 to force it into the EU, but the first time there has been a vote. ■